Sparta and Athens—Conclusions

Overview

The Spartan regime was distinguished by its extreme discipline, which was fostered by a culture of shame and by the society’s extreme regimentation. However, Spartan rule abroad—in the absence of these restraints—typically resulted in corruption and tyranny. Following its victory in the Peloponnesian War, Sparta’s attempt to establish and rule an empire led to its eventual demise.

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Paul A. Rahe is the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Professor in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College. He earned his B.A. in history and Ph.D. in ancient Greek history at Yale University, and he read Litterae Humaniores at Oxford University. He is the author of several books, including Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution, Against Throne and Altar: Machiavelli and Political Theory under the English Republic, and Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect. He is co-editor of Montesquieu’s Science of Politics: Essays on the Spirit of Laws and editor of Machiavelli’s Liberal Republican Legacy. In November 2015, Yale University Press released his new book, The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge, and in the fall of 2016 Yale will publish The Spartan Regime.